Shoes: The Essentials

As much as I usually avoid stereotyping, there is one generalization that tends to ring true: girls like shoes. And by extension, girls tend to own a lot of them. One major temptation while packing for college is to throw every pair of colorful heels onto the pile, but that pile tends to quickly become a mountain. Instead of trying to cram your entire closet into your parents’ minivan, stick to the following essential pairs. These shoes will cover any basic college situation, from job interviews to club retreats:
• Rainboots: Probably the single item most incoming freshmen forget, a sturdy pair of rainboots is essential for a comfortable, dry semester. No matter how dry a climate your school happens to be in, a day will come when you are inadequately prepared for a monsoon and you happen to discover that your usual path to class transforms into a mudslide with even the slightest drizzle. Keep a pair of heavy, comfortable rainboots handy in case of an emergency—there are plenty of colorful, fun pairs available online, so enjoy!
• Sensible heels: By sensible, I mean mid-high, not a stiletto. You’ll need one pair of comfortable heels that are versatile enough to wear for anything from a class presentation to a job interview. As tempting as it may be to bring along a sky-high pair, remember: maneuvering around a college campus means a whole lot of walking, so you’ll need something you can wear on the move.
• Sneakers: Even if you’re not an athlete—if you despise even the idea of going to the gym—these are an absolute necessity. You may need them for an unexpected field trip or club event, and showing up in a pair of flip flops or heels could be utterly disastrous.
• Flats: Again, college means a surprising amount of walking around. The idea of clinking from class to a meeting sounds brilliant, but the reality may not allow for heels on a regular basis. Be sure to pack at least one pair of versatile flats that work with any outfit—from a formal dress to your everyday jeans-and-a-T-shirt.
• Winter boots (optional): Obviously, this depends on where you go to school. If you’re not sure whether or not you should anticipate winter storms, it’s worth packing one sturdy pair of winter boots just in case. Colleges rarely cancel for inclement weather, so it’s your job to make it to and from class without injuring yourself.
• Party shoes (optional): If you enjoy the occasional night out, complete with outrageously high high heels, try to limit yourself to one pair. Make sure they’re a solid color that you can wear with any party dress, and pack only your most comfortable set.
• Sandals/flip flops (optional): Warm weather allows for shorts, sundresses, skirts, and all things frilly. If you’re a fan of pairing your favorite spring outfits with strappy sandals or flip flops, go for it. Make sure not to overpack, and again, pick pairs that are versatile and will withstand an inordinately long schoolday.

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